Large-cap growth stocks drifted sideways for much of the quarter before Britain's vote to exit the European Union caused Wall Street to end the period on a note of marked volatility. Most of the major U.S. equity benchmarks recorded gains for the quarter, but the technology-laden Nasdaq Composite declined and added to its losses for the year to date. Sector performance within the large-cap S&P 500 varied widely. A partial rebound in oil prices helped the energy sector gain nearly 12%, and other value-oriented segments posted good gains. However, the growth-focused information technology and consumer discretionary segments recorded losses.
The Blue Chip Growth Fund - I Class returned −0.20% in the quarter compared with 2.46% for the S&P 500 Index and 0.33% for the Lipper Large-Cap Growth Funds Index. For the 12 months ended June 30, 2016, the fund returned −1.52% versus 3.99% for the S&P 500 Index and −2.83% for the Lipper Large-Cap Growth Funds Index. The fund's average annual total returns were −1.52%, 12.86%, and 8.83% for the 1-, 5-, and 10-year periods, respectively, as of June 30, 2016. The fund's expense ratio was 0.63% as of the most recent Prospectus.
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Current performance may be lower or higher than the quoted past performance, which cannot guarantee future results.
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The portfolio invests in high-quality, stable-growth companies that can perform well regardless of the economic environment. Our bottom-up stock selection process focuses on large- and mid-cap growth companies that deliver steady revenues, earnings, and cash flow growth. However, our highest-conviction holdings underperformed in the period. Our largest sector allocations at midyear were information technology, consumer discretionary, and health care. Stock selection detracted in each of those overweighted sectors. An underweight allocation to the financials sector and an overweight to information technology contributed to relative performance. Despite the recent underperformance of high-quality growth stocks, we have not been selling our highest-conviction holdings because we believe that they have compelling risk/reward characteristics.
We remain optimistic about the longer-term prospects for large-cap growth stocks and expect the U.S. to generate moderate economic growth in 2016. Following the UK's decision to exit the European Union, we believe that it is unlikely that the Federal Reserve will raise short-term interest rates this year. Growth stocks remain fairly priced based on traditional valuation metrics, especially compared with their long-term history. We will continue to invest in established growth themes and favor the prospects for the information technology, health care, and consumer discretionary sectors. Our core holdings are durable-growth companies, which are those that we believe have the ability to increase revenues and earnings regardless of the global economic environment. We refer to these as "all-seasons growth companies."